Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter 2022

The Contemplative Practices group has been meeting weekly for many years now, as far back as 2007, and for the last several of those years that has included throughout the winter and summer modules, and even between the modules and semesters, when there are no classes (in other words, 52 weeks per year). Since not much has changed in these last several years, we have been reporting our activities here once per year, rather than every semester or every module.

At the beginning of every semester or module, we have been sending out a Doodle schedule poll to the KBCC Employees listserv to specify those time slots during which the group facilitator (Prof. Rick Repetti) is able to conduct weekly meetings that semester, module, or in-between time and to determine the time at which the greatest number of Doodle participants have indicated their availability for the weekly meetings. For the past several Doodle rounds, the same day of the week and the same time of day have been consistently most popular, namely, Mondays from noon to 12:30 pm. Years before the pandemic, while still holding these meetings only on campus in M391 (in KCTL’s conference room), we switched from advertising these and Doodle polling them in one-hour units to half hour units, respecting the fact that most attendees were coming during a lunch hour, and would need half that time to have lunch, but we would always remain in the meeting for about an hour anyway, as some attendees would always prefer to stay for informal discussion or Q&A. We have continued that practice of scheduling only half hour sessions, but typically holding the meeting open for at least an hour since we migrated the group online during the pandemic.

In the Spring 2022 semester, the group facilitator (Rick Repetti) finally returned to teaching a class on campus (as did many of us), so he offered two Doodle polls, one for online meetings and the other for in-person on-campus meetings in M391, to see which option would receive the greatest expression of faculty, staff, and student availability. Apparently, the online option is still more practical for most who filled out both Doodles, with only a very few indicating an ability to attend the on-campus meetings, so we kept the same Monday noon online schedule for the Spring, then again in the summer, the Fall, and the winter module, which recently ended, and we are keeping it until the results of the Spring 2023 Doodle arrive, although if past practices are any guideline to what to expect in the future, we will probably continue with Mondays at noon online for the Spring 2023 semester (and Prof. Repetti is not teaching on campus for the Spring 2023 semester anyway, so the on-campus offering is not on the table for the Spring 2023 semester).

It should be noted that Prof. Repetti received “Student Sense of Belonging” funding from the President for the 2022/2023 academic year to support offering an 8-week MBSR-type (mindfulness based stress reduction) course for students only, once per semester, a course that typically costs attendees well over $1,000. The college purchased about 20 meditation cushions for this, and devoted M239 to it, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Unfortunately, only two students showed up on the first day, and none thereafter. Prof. Repetti surmises that our students are too time stressed to be able to enjoy a free, non-credit-bearing stress reduction course that requires meeting one to two hours a week in person for eight weeks. He will offer an online version of the program in the Spring 2023 semester, which ought to be more well attended.

Prof. Repetti is also now part of the attempt to revive the CUNY-wide initiative that sparked this Contemplative Practices Faculty Interest Group at KCC, called the CUNY Contemplatives Network, which ran several lectures series and conferences at the CUNY Graduate Center for a number of years in the 2000s and 2010s, while grant funds remained, but which eventually fizzled out after the funds did and some of the key faculty retired. We are now informally reviving this initiative as the CUNY Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies (CMCS) group (we have a CUNY Academic Commons group/site as well), and we are holding a gathering of interested CUNY members on March 24, 10:00 am to 12:15 pm, online (see info on our Commons page). In furtherance of the effort to bring all of CUNY together in this initiative, the KCTL’s Contemplative Practice group is opening its metaphorical doors to anyone from the CMCS group to attend our weekly meditations.

Prof. Repetti is also about to begin another weekly meditation group for non-CUNY attendees under the aegis of the Vervaeke Foundation.

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